New Mexico Republicans compete to appear on primary ballot
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Party contenders for Congress and statewide elected office are competing for positions on the primary ballot ahead of the June vote.
A pre-primary convention Saturday is set to bring together hundreds of local GOP delegates from across the state to meet and listen to candidates.
Five contenders are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, including state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque.
Ronchetti released a video ad Wednesday that highlights concerns about public safety and drug trafficking along the state’s international border with Mexico. He promises to deploy National Guard troops and “create a border strike force to go after the cartels.”
Ronchetti ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for an open Senate seat against Sen. Ben Ray Luján.
The Republican convention will determine who gets on the primary ballot with at least 20% of endorsement votes and who gets top billing with the highest approval.
Candidates also can gather extra petition signatures before or shortly after the convention to qualify automatically for the primary ballot. Ronchetti appears to have a large number of signatures that guarantee participation.
U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell is defending her 2nd District seat without a Republican primary challenger. The district spans much of southern New Mexico and was redrawn in December to include portions of Albuquerque.
Three Republicans are vying for the 1st Congressional District nomination to take on first-term Democratic Rep. Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque. They are health care businessman and a shooting range owner Louie Sanchez, nurse practitioner Jacquelyn Reeve and former police detective and public prosecutor Michelle Garcia Holmes.
Republicans, farmer Jerald McFall of Angel Fire and Santa Fe-based engineer Alexis Martinez Johnson, are seeking the nomination to challenge Democratic first-term Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe. McFall and Johnson have run unsuccessfully for the seat in previous general elections.
In several other races for statewide office, only one Republican is seeking the nomination. Among Republicans, former Santa Fe County commissioner Harry Montoya is running for state treasurer, attorney Jeremy Gay of Gallup is running for attorney general, and state utilities regulator Jeff Byrd of Tucumcari is running for state land commissioner to oversee oil, mineral and livestock grazing leases on state land.
Democrats control all statewide elected offices in New Mexico.
This story has been updated to correct that health care businessman and a shooting range owner Louie Sanchez is competing for a spot in the Republican primary, and not the Albuquerque city councilor with the same name.